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Vehicle Identification Numbers - VIN Numbers - Skip Tracing Tips

Vehicle Identification Number - VIN Numbers Explained

Every skip tracer will encounter VIN numbers from time to time. If you are skip tracing for a repossession service you will probably deal with VIN numbers on a daily basis.

What is a Vehicle Identification Number or VIN Number? Every vehicle that was manufactured or sold in the United States since 1981 was issued a unique 17 digit number that identifies information about the vehicles year, make, model, manufacturer, engine, and frame.

Prior to 1981 every vehicle manufacturer created their own serial number, to their own specifications. There were no standards or uniformity in VIN numbers. After 1981 all vehicle manufactures agreed to the current standardization.

The VIN number on most cars is can be found just above the bottom edge of the driver's side of the windshield. The VIN is also on a tag on the inside of the driver's door along with other manufacturer information. The vin number is stamped into the vehicle's frame and engine in several locations.

Digit Description
1st Country of Origin
2nd Manufacturer
3rd Make
4th Line
5th & 6th Body Style
7th Restraint System
8th Engine
9th Check Digit
10th Year
11th Assembly Plant
12th - 17 Sequence Number

NOTE: VIN Numbers cannot contain the letter o or the letter i. This is to prevent confusion with the number 0 and 1.

Validating your VIN number is an important step in skip tracing. You need to make sure that you are sending your driver out with as much information as possible. From the driver's viewpoint it is helpful to know if he is looking for a 2 door or a 4 door. It also assists the driver to know when the vehicle they are after is a 4x4. All of this information is returned to you when you check the VIN.

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